Engineered vs Solid Hardwood Flooring: Which is Better?

Written by  //  May 7, 2020  //  Flooring  //  Comments Off on Engineered vs Solid Hardwood Flooring: Which is Better?

Hardwood flooring is a timeless design choice that can add class and value to any home. When you’re choosing which type of hardwood flooring to include in your home, the question of engineered vs. solid hardwood flooring and which is better will likely arise. Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple black-and-white answer—just like there isn’t a simple answer for which finish or species of wood is best. Strap in, because some deliberation is in order. Your decision will depend largely on your unique preferences and needs.

To help you choose, here’s a quick guide to understanding engineered and solid hardwood flooring and the benefits each offers.

Engineered hardwood flooring

Engineered hardwood flooring is composed of a relatively thin top layer of real hardwood and a core that typically consists of multiple plywood layers laminated together. The hardwood layer and the core are bonded together to create a durable plank that resembles solid hardwood flooring.

Benefits of engineered hardwood flooring

  • Less sensitive to moisture: The plywood cross-layering base of engineered hardwood flooring makes it more resistant to moisture than solid hardwood flooring.
  • More resistant to temperature changes: Changes in temperature can cause cupping or gapping to occur in hardwood flooring. Engineered hardwood flooring is more resistant to such effects.
  • More sustainable: Engineered hardwood flooring is comprised of only a thin layer of hardwood rather than a thick slab, so less hardwood timber—which takes a considerable amount of time to grow—is needed to cover an area.
  • Can be installed on subfloors below ground level: Unlike solid hardwood flooring, engineered hardwood flooring can be installed in basements below ground level, where more moisture is present.
  • Can be glued directly to concrete: Engineered hardwood was initially invented as a hardwood product that can be applied directly to a concrete slab.

Solid hardwood flooring

Quite simply, hardwood flooring is made of solid hardwood throughout the board’s entirety. Unlike engineered hardwood, no other layers or other types of wood or material are involved in the composition of solid hardwood flooring.

Benefits of solid hardwood flooring

  • It can be refinished multiple times: Perhaps the main benefit of solid hardwood is that homeowners can refinish it several times throughout the flooring’s lifetime to eliminate scratches or imperfections. Because engineered hardwood only has a thin top layer of hardwood, it can generally only be sanded and refinished once.
  • Easier to repair: In the case of significant forms of damage, it’s often easier to match and repair solid hardwood flooring, so you won’t have to replace the whole floor.
  • It comes in prefinished and unfinished forms: For people who already have solid hardwood in their homes and want to match the color exactly, solid hardwood is a great choice, as it comes in both pre-finished and unfinished form.

There’s no clear-cut answer to whether engineered or solid hardwood flooring is better, but hopefully taking a look at the unique benefits each type offers will guide your decision.

image credit: Pixabay

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